Book Review: Throne of Glass

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Yes, I’m just now reading this book. ๐Ÿ˜› I was very late to the Sarah J. Maas train, only discovering her books after the publication of A Court of Mist and Fury. I was intrigued by reviews I saw of THAT book, and on the strength of those alone I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in that seriesย (which I wasn’t entirely on board with but then there was a horribly cliffhanger ending sooooo)ย quickly followed by ACOMAF, and I’ve been obsessed with the series ever since. Naturally I wanted to read her original series as well, but to be honest I’ve been a little scared. What if I don’t like it as much? What if I just think it’s crap compared to ACOTAR? Such high expectations. Honestly though, I was kind of braced to not like it, as everyone kept saying (as with ACOTAR) not to judge the entire series off the first book. So, SJM, I love you, but something about your first book game isn’t quite meshing with me…or maybe I just take a long time to fully commit to characters. Hrm. Anywho.

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This is my Treat choice for the Halloween Read-A-Thon!

I have done my best to avoid spoilers and there are definitely no plot spoilers! However if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about the characters you might not want to read.

Throne of Glass launches us into what promises to be an epic fantasy adventure. I love the way we’re immediately thrown in with Celaena in a dangerous, scary situation because I, naturally, want to know HOW THE FUCK she ended up there. Also how she can seem to be so young and yet so skilled, so brutal…and yet so obsessed with frilly dresses.

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Both of these are totally Celaena. I’m still not sure how she does it or why, especially as she even notes that all the layers of skirts hamper her fighting skills. Only somehow she doesn’t seem to get caught in particularly bad situations while all dolled up. Hmm.

The forest was different here. The leaves dangled like jewels – tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald, and garnet; and a carpet of such riches coated the forest floor around them. Despite the ravages of conquest, this part of Oakwald Forest remained untouched. It still echoed with the remnants of the power that had once given these trees such unnatural beauty.

Maas has created a beautiful world that is by turns thrilling, intriguing, and terrifying. I would like to visit, but retain the option to return to my own world with the push of a button. ๐Ÿ˜› Because Cain and those demon things were scary AF, and the king gives me nasty chills. I want to know all about it though, and I feel like there is SO MUCH that still needs explaining. Where did the current King of Adarlan come from? What happened to Celaena’s family and why? Why is Dorian so very unlike his father? Who is Chaol, really? How did the magic of Adarlan just…die? Where did the Faery people go?

The plot really moves along at a good clip. I loved the constant suspense of waiting for each new test of the Champions, and seeing who would be eliminated or die trying. I also really enjoyed the continuous building of tension in the court, as Celaena tries over and over to piece things together as she gains new information. ย It all flows smoothly leading up to the final duel…except that Kaltain’s part seemed rather forced and contrived, to me…of course there is someone like her in EVERY court (usually several), but it was just very convenient and felt a bit out of place. ย Maybe part of that was due to the influences on her, I’m not sure.

There are a couple of tropes here, and I spotted them almost as soon as the book started. I took notes as I rolled my eyes around page 47. Verbatim: “Celaena is naturally the most gorgeous woman at court, both the captain and prince will fall in love with her, and the prince is possibly/probably not the prince at all.”ย I was slightly annoyed.

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Not this AGAIN.

HOWEVER. The love triangle was handled much better than a lot that I’ve seen, and the special snowflake turned out to be a special snowflake through much hard work, not just being born to it. Why does she have to be so gorgeous that practically every man falls at her feet? With the exception of the other Champions, thank the gods that be. But the constant references to her beauty in the first part of the book were really annoying. Blah. The love triangle was slow in the build-up, and if I hadn’t already seen so many memes and fangirl sites over ToG I might not have been so sure about it early on (thanks, interwebz), but I still feel like it was pretty obvious.

As I’ve said many times, characters are what really make a book for me. This one is STUFFED FULL of wonderful amazing people that I want to go live with. They are flawed – each and every one of them. They do annoying things that make me want to choke them. (Chaol, anyone?) They also have pasts that I am DYING to find out about because they are such strong people but they have scars and tender spots that show through now and again and yet NO. Apparently I must wait for the next book (which, not to worry, has already been requested from the library).

“Second place is a nice title for the first loser.”

Ah, Celaena, our heroine. Despite her annoyingly perfect body and face (even with her time in the mines and the abuse to the rest of her body, her face was somehow left alone), she’s definitely someone I’d want in my corner. She’s got a backbone of steel, a quick mind, and…well, she’s The Assassin. She’s been hurt, and horribly. But she hasn’t entirely hardened herself again the entire world yet. She is, however, a badass with a flair for the dramatic, and she likes attention.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

Also, she loves books and good food. Seriously, the descriptions of the library in Rifthold made me feel lightheaded and all delicious food she was forever gobbling down kept me feeling hungry. Thankyounotreally.

ย “I can survive well enough on my ownโ€” if given the proper reading material.”

Girl after my own heart, I’m telling you. Such a fighting and adventurous spirit – and yet she loves books.

She had often wished for adventure, for old spells and wicked kings. But she hadn’t realized it would be like this – a fight for her freedom. And she’d always imagined that there’d be someone to help her – a loyal friend or a one-armed soldier or something. She hadn’t imagined she would be so…alone.

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No, they’re not brothers, but they might as well be.

Dorian and Chaol – best friends consisting of the crown princeling and captain of the guard – are…well, they’re just sweethearts and good guys. Dorian more openly so. Chaol is, to be honest, something of an ass, but underneath it is a soft heart that shows through from time to time and I just want him to be able to open up and trust SOMEBODY. Geez Louise, but the man seems to wear his tough guy armor 24/7 . Dorian, on the other hand, needs to grow a pair (he’s working on it, I know I know but come ON). I am solidly team Chaol, at the moment. Also, not going to spoil for anyone that hasn’t read it but…Celaena NAILED IT towards the end of the book, when dealing with these two. HATS OFF. YOU GO GIRLFRIEND. Now that, took guts.

Oh, but back to other characters. There is of course Princess Nehemiah, who is very intriguing indeed and has me dying of curiosity about her country and magic and all the sparkly creepy things she seems to know about. I’m sure we will see more of her. There’s also Nox, who I’m NOT sure we will see more of but I hope we do. The most intriguing side character by FAR though, is Elena…who I can’t really discuss without giving stuffs away. Mph.

“You could be great. You could rattle the stars. You could do anything if only you dared.”

SO MUCH POTENTIAL IN THIS BOOK. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Now that the competition is over but ALL the dastardly schemes are just getting started.

That said, I’m giving 3.5/5 stars. It definitely got better as the story progressed, but I did a lot of eye-rolling during the set-up, and still feel like the love triangle itself was/is unnecessary, even if the characters are definitely not.ย Also I’m still not sure on the prince thing, nothing else ever happens to make us think that Dorian isn’t the prince, but for some reason it’s still in the back of my mind.

 

 

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Bookmarks Galore

Lately, I’ve actually been trying to not buy books. I broke my book-buying ban right after our vacation in June and have been sorta-kinda-not really trying to go back on it. Or at least show some restraint. However, this does mean I’ve acquired more bookish STUFF than ever before. OwlCrate has been pretty bad for this, with all the AMAZING stuff they pack in each box…as has bookstagram. Haha! But I wanted to show off some of my favorite new pretties!

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I’m obsessed with Crafted Van’s adorable magnetic bookmarks (they also make magnets and notecards). They’re cute, and they’re the perfect thickness – they don’t stick up or hold the pages up in an odd way like a lot of bookmarks. They don’t fall out. They ย make perfect kitty toys. Oh wait, that last part was a completely unintentional design feature, I’m sure. Haha. The royalty ones above came in the June OwlCrate box.

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Yes, that is my one lonely Penguin Drop Caps book behind them. I bought Jane Eyre in hopes that starting my Drop Caps collection would motivate me to finally finish that book. So far it’s not working. ๐Ÿ˜›

Then I bought these kitty ones…an orange one for Sir Tristan, and a gray one for Alfred (he needs a title too…Assassin, maybe?). They have a TON of different cat designs, both big and small. In the close up pictures you can’t tell really, so I took another one to illustrate sizes of a bunch of different magnetic bookmarks, a few pictures down.

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THEN, I just happened to catch a posting from the Crafted Van Instagram account that they were starting a brand-new monthly subscription! I was beyond excited and immediately signed up. Because I already loved their bookmarks, and it was only $12. Freaking fantabulous. I was not disappointed. I think the little reading octopus is my new favorite bookmark!! Aaaah!! How did they know I love octopi? Anyway, I’m really looking forward to adding to my Crafted Van collection each month. ๐Ÿ˜€


Next up is this beautifully adorable set from NerdyGrlDesigns. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m slightly obsessed with A Court of Mist and Fury. Despite being unable to write a review on it, but that’s a topic for another post. Haha. Anyway, these little caricatures of Rhysand’s Inner Circle are just…well, adorable. As soon as my SIGNED copy of ACOMAF arrives, I plan to sprinkle them throughout the book. Um…because why not? Why would I use them to mark my place in another, lesser book? Oh, I could always try to string them up across the bookshelf like I see so many lovely bookstagrammers doing…but I’m not that talented and mine would probably look like a redneck Christmas. These feel a little more fragile to me than the others, I think probably because of the arms and legs and other details.

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Banking the shop photo because mine didn’t turn out and I’m too lazy to try to take another.

Then there is another – ahem, no, I do not have a problem – ACOMAF set, this time from Jane’s Little Things. I love her drawings. They definitely have their own very unique look! I adore the quotes she puts on the back. These feel thicker than either of the other ones here, and they’re glossy. They do hold the pages of a mid-weight book up slightly, but it doesn’t damage the book in any way!


Here’s the size comparison picture!

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Then, I found the gorgeous Boookmarky shop. And promptly purchased ANOTHER pair of ACOTAR/ACOMAF themed bookmarks. I love the little charms on these. When I get my books arranged properly (i.e., all standing on end and not just stacked so they are on the shelf SOMEhow) I’ll take a picture of them properly in the books and adorning the spines. This one will have to do for now. However, since I still kind of want to buy out their entire store…this will not be the last of their bookmarks to grace my shelves, I hope!

Who are some of your favorite bookmark creators? Do you use them or just collect them? Do you make your own? As pretty as they are, I do actually use mine (which is why I currently can’t find the Tristan one, or the Queen – waaaaah) and take a lot of joy in watching them move through the pages. ๐Ÿ˜€

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All products in this post were purchased by me and reviewed at my own discretion.

Giveaway: A Court of Thorns and Roses

I am super excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on The Bent Bookworm! I’ve fallen so much in love with the ACOTAR series that I had to share it around. ๐Ÿ˜€ This is for a hardcover copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas. I’m also including a little coloring booklet full of YA book covers, that was included in July’s OwlCrate! It’s adorable but I have lots of coloring books and not enough time for them as it is! You can enter by leaving a blog comment (make sure to add all your entries to the Rafflecopter), following me on Twitter, and a few other things.

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Giveaway - ACOTAR2

Entries are open starting now until midnight, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 (Seoul time, which is about 13 hours ahead of EST). Winners will be contacted within 48 hours and if I don’t receive a response within 48 hours of attempting to contact, I’ll pick someone else. Have fun!! Click below for the Rafflecopter and let me know if there are any issues! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Something Else Sunday #3

Well, here we are again! I missed last week’s Something Else because of my massive ACOMAF hangover. Back in the saddle somewhat this weekend.

As usual, starting out with Sir Tristan! This was in my face at 5:45 a.m. this morning. He hasn’t grasped the concept of weekends yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

"Mama why aren't you up yet??" *facepat*

“Mama why aren’t you up yet??” *facepat*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I finally managed to finish the massive knitting project I had underway, a Solaris shawl by Melanie Berg. I love her designs, but this is the first one I’ve made myself. Better pictures later, but this one just proves I finished it. Hehe. I’m probably taking a break from knitting for a bit after this. DH is asking for his quilt to be finished. Or I might just find a tiny, quick project.

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I had a lovely week in snail mail. Unfortunately only sent out a couple, but I had FIVE come in! Definitely more letter writing this week (yet another reason for my knitting break). No pictures of my outgoing, I was in too much of a hurry.

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Incoming!

 

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More incoming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should I be ashamed to admit I just now watched The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies? Aaaaaaaand now I wish to un-see. ARGH. So many things wrong with this movie – well, with the whole series – I don’t even know where to start. They made so much of it just look so STUPID. Way to ruin one of the best books ever, Peter Jackson. About the only thing they got right was the conversation between Thorin and Bilbo at the end. Sniff.

Because really, have we ever seen enough of Richard Armitage? No, no we have not. Especially not looking this rugged.

Coming up this week:

July OwlCrate Review! Mine finally arrived on Friday.

A look at my reading list goals for August.

TTT – this week’s topic from The Broke and the Bookish is perfect.

My first GIVEAWAY!! Super excited about this and hope all you guys will be too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Reviews of (pics link to GoodReads):

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Apparently I’m on a fantasy bent. Imprudence is a maaaaaaybe this week, not sure I will get to writing the actual review. I have such a teetering stack of library books on my nightstand right now! It’s insane. My husband definitely thinks I’m insane. Not admitted I agree with him, naturally.

Also, tomorrow I should find out if I’m looking at a surgery for the supposedly-minor hip injury from a few weeks ago. After knee surgery two years ago I am really not excited about the prospect. And I’m only 28! I’m way too young for my body to fall apart! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Hopefully it will be a physical therapy fix instead, though.

That’s it for the upcoming week! Is everyone ready for Monday? I’m never ready, haha. But there are always books and coffee to look forward to. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Book HANGOVER – A Court of Mist and Fury

Photo linked to appropriate Society6 store. I need this.

No, this is not a review. Not yet. This is just me…flailing. Because OMG all the feels. And because I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. to finish this 630 page beast (no pun intended) and was drinking wine so I feel a little bit actually hungover. I started reading at noon yesterday and only took a few breaks. You know, because eating. And picking the husband up from work.

Found this “Which Court Do You Belong In” quiz, which is OBVIOUSLY WRONG, because somehow it says I belong in the Spring Court. *sob*

Yes, I am showing my new bookmarks off everywhere. Because they’re that adorable.

My morning has been spent finding everything I possibly can on the next books. The next one of which will not be released until MAY 2017. WHAT DO I DO?!? There’s not even a title yet.
Also, ALL the Rhysand/Night Court candles. Because I need them, obviously. I need to be able to smell that sea/citrus/starlight scent. *hearteyes*

Specifically this one. Aaaah! Link to store.

Also this. And this. Because Evie Bookish’s store is awesome.

Real review forthcoming, some time this week. If I can become coherent again.

 

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

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I have soooooo many feelings about this book. I loved it, but I have issues with it. I loved the characters, but I want to throttle them. This is my cherry pop for Sarah J. Maas’ books, and I have to say I’m quite definitely hooked. I’ve already checked out A Court of Mist and Fury from the library (thank the stars they HAD it for once). Sadly it will probably be waiting until next weekend, when I can devote an entire day to devouring it all in one go. I’m a bit confused by the GoodReads page for the series, because it lists 8 (count them! 8!) books…while the FAQ on Maas’ author website clearly says “third and final book in the series is slated to be published in 2017.” SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!!! Ahem. Anywho, barring some unforgivable deviation in writing, I’m sure I will be biting my nails for the next release. I’m already waffling on my book buying ban.

ADDENDUM: Oops. A little more digging revealed this announcement! I am trying not to get my expectations too high as I haven’t read that much of her work yet, buuuuut…yeah. So much hope and potential.

My first impression, on page 7 (yes, page 7), was “holy shit does this woman know how to set the atmosphere!” As Fayre is stalking the wolf, my heart was pounding. I actually put the book down for a minute. I was startled at being that sucked in that fast. As the story continued, I continued to be impressed by the world building. Somehow she managed to do it without the massive info-dumps so many authors resort to using. Whoohoo! Mad props. And, I can feel the snow. I can see the poverty, and then the masked glittering court. Ooooh.

Characters. Ah, where do I even start. This could be a very long post. Fayre, we all love you. I do wish you didn’t have quite such a guilt complex though. About 1/5 of the way through the book, she has a dream about the wolf she killed – killed because all her life she was told that wolves were evil, as were the Fae, and would slaughter her and her family without pausing to think twice. And yet, after spending just a few days in the Spring Court, she is suddenly overwrought. Fayre dear, why so many guilty feels?

It was regret, and maybe shame, that coated my tongue, my bones. I shuddered as if I could fling it off, and kicked back the sheets to rise from the bed.

All very dramatic of course, but, um…knowing what she knew at that point in time, I think most of us with an ounce of backbone would have killed the wolf too. Just saying. I’m willing to chalk that up to her being 19 and impressionable. And horny.

Then there is the whole Tamrin Problem. Because while he has some great lines… (Um….possible SPOILERS? You’ve been warned…I tried to be vague but might not have been as vague as I thought)

Against slavery, against tyranny, I would gladly go to my death, no matter whose freedom I was defending.

…he’s a lying bastard who never even apologizes for his myriad deceptions! UGH! I actually kind of liked his over-flown, flowery, stilted mannerisms until his lies are all uncovered. And then even when Fayre is hit in the fucking FACE with them, she just accepts them and follows him to…er…some-indefinite-place-of-mortal-peril.

At least Fayre realizes, however briefly, that she’s caught a bad case of the hots.

I knew I was headed down a path that would likely end in my moral heart being left in pieces, and yet…and yet I couldn’t stop myself.

Well. Bravo to her for realizing it and consciously making the choice, at least. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. The key is personal responsibility, which Fayre seems to have in spades (albeit exhibiting itself most often as the aforementioned guilt complex).

Also, re: Tamrin – HOW, and WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, is it SEXY for your love interest to lose control and be a mindless beast? I get it, it’s Beauty and the Beast, yadda yadda. But. NOT COOL!! Thankfully that scene is short and not portrayed entirely positively…but it was still more sexy than horrific and it really disturbed me.

About halfway through I felt the story became really predictable. Maybe due to the Beauty and the Beast influence? Still a bit sad. However, Maas still has some lovely, lovely prose that actually stirred my little non-believing critic’s heart.

I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn’t know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down.

Ahhhhh. Yes. Talk to me, baby. I kind of wished I was drunk while reading this, because I’m pretty sure I would have been spinning right along with Feyre.

Then we’re kind of back to the predictabilty. Boo. But then, a few interesting things happen. But then, there’s this riddle deal thrown in – was that supposed to be a big mystery? Because honestly. I hadn’t even finished reading it before I was mumbling the answer at the pages in front of me, and yet SOMEHOW it takes Fayre several more chapters to figure it out.

So, this is near the end. I was thinking this was a 3/5 star book. Then…Rhysand happened. Also there’s the little not-much-explained story of Lucien. And OMG Fayre. What happened to you, Love? She’s still Fayre and yet…her naivety and what innocence she had left gets wiped entirely clean. But there is still Rhysand…omg. What…what?? Dun-dun-dun, and it’s over.

Leaving me reeling in my chair and desperately checking the library catalog for the second one. Despite all the flaws. Despite my homicidal feelings toward Tamrin. Despite odd division of the story into 75% slow, sweet romance and then BAM! 25% knives and blood and confusion.

It was lovely, for all its flaws. I am going to be tearing my hair out until I get through A Court of Mist and Fury.

Oh, but…Fayre? Can you please, please get over your obsession with the “shell” of your ear?

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